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Becoming Landsick: Rethinking Sustainability in an Age of Continuous, Visible, and Irreversible Change

February 2016

Citation: 46 ELR 10141

Issue: 2

Author: Robin Kundis Craig

This Article is adapted from Chapter Four of Rethinking Sustainability to Meet the Climate Change Challenge, edited by Jessica Owley and Keith Hirokawa and published by ELI Press. The author argues that climate change adaptation is absolutely necessary because we have passed the point of avoiding climate change impacts. Because adaptation is fundamentally about coping with continual change, we must abandon mainstream notions of sustainability, which assume a relatively stationary world. We instead should adopt three transforming principles: (1) pursue resilience rather than maintenance of particular socioecological states; (2) recognize and emphasize that private interests must yield to community survival; and (3) stop avoiding the subject of human population growth. These principles will help us acquire “climate change sea legs” and face the challenges to come.

Robin Kundis Craig is the William H. Leary Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.

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